Since 2007, a group of faculty members and students from Parsons, Milano The New School for Management and Urban Policy, and the graduate program in International Affairs have worked with Ajkem’a Loy’a, a group of female Mayan weavers in Guatemala, to help them develop their business, communication, and design skills and increase their income.
San Lucas Toliman, Guatemala.
Identify ways to support a group of traditional Mayan weavers in Guatemala as they changed from simply being makers into full-fledged designers.
A team of faculty members designed courses to teach students about Mayan culture, craft processes, the craft market, microfinancing, and other related topics. The students then designed financial literacy, marketing and communications, and product development workshops for the weavers.
At the end of the semester, a group of professors and students spent part of the summer living in San Lucas Toliman and conducting daily workshops with the women of Ajkem’a Loy’a. New School faculty and students collaborated with the weavers on products for both American and European markets. Both the New York Daily News and the television show Latino Nation covered the project.
The course was co-taught by the coordinator of the graduate program in International Affairs and faculty from the Parsons Integrated Design BFA program.